BAE Systems completed the first flight of a Harrier strike aircraft upgraded to GR9 standard on 30 May. The modifications are intended to improve the capability of the UK Royal Air Force aircraft and the Royal Navy Sea Harrier.

The first flight, from BAE's Warton airfield in north-west England, lasted 1h 10 min. The company says the aircraft will now test systems, sensors and weapons to be introduced over the next five years.

The£500 million ($820million) programme is split into phased capability releases. The company says the initial capability upgrade is due to be delivered to the RAF in November next year.

The organisation to embody the upgrades is yet to be decided, with BAE, the Defence Aviation Repair Agency and the RAF as candidates.

Source: Flight International